Women’s basketball looking to build off Evansville win


After dropping its first four conference games, Wichita State snapped their five-game losing streak at Evansville on Sunday with a 74-67 victory at the Ford Center. WSU’s women have two more opportunities this weekend to climb back up the Missouri Valley Conference standings with home games against Bradley on Friday and Illinois State on Sunday.

Bradley and Illinois State are tied with the Shockers for seventh place with a 1-4 record in league play. WSU is only a half game behind Evansville and Southern Illinois for fifth place.

“We’ve got to put a whole four quarters together,” head coach Jody Adams-Birch said. “It comes back to untimely turnovers that hurt us and making wide open shots.”

Adams-Birch has continued to experiment with the starting lineup, with no player having started all 16 games. On Sunday, freshman forward Kayla Williams made her first start since Dec. 2 and scored six points while shooting 40 percent from three.

Sophomore forward Sabrina Lozada-Cabbage made her third consecutive start Sunday after coming off the bench. Inserting Cabbage into the starting lineup has created a more effective paint presence that has allowed the Shockers to win the rebounding battle during their last two games.

“We have a new offense this year, but for the most part I do understand the offensive and defensive rotations,” Lozada-Cabbage said. “I know what to expect from the other teams with how they play.”

If the Shockers want to come away with two victories this weekend, their bench scoring will need to continue to be effective. WSU’s bench scored 38 points, with junior forward Angiee Tompkins leading the Shockers in scoring with 16 on Sunday.

Three of WSU’s top six scorers have been regular contributors off the bench this season.

“The coaches made some changes to how they were going to substitute and play us and in the Evansville game they put it into play,” junior guard Keke Thompson said. “The team off of the bench’s purpose was to speed our opponents up, pressure them, get the ball inside, get to the basket and get fouled. The bench went out there and executed the game plan.”

Allowing opponents to shoot 44 percent on the season, the Shockers forced Evansville down to shooting 36 percent from the floor in their lone MVC victory of the season. The Shockers have won five out of their six games when they keep opponents shooting 40 percent or below.

“As fast as the game is played, you can’t wait until a timeout to make adjustments. You have to be able to make them on the fly,” Adams-Birch said. “We talk about our communication and are activeness being able to take care of that.

WSU (6-10, 1-4) will start the set of weekend home games against Bradley at 7:05 p.m. on Friday.